Have you ever stepped onto the weighing scale and feel the world collapse around you?

“I thought… I was… this can’t be… I was 48kg just last month! What happened!?”

(insert screaming, wailing and an impending breakdown)

Weight gain, while irrelevant to some teenage boys who look like pole sticks no matter what kind of junk food they stuff themselves with, is sadly a looming reality for the rest of us. If you, like me, are going through an unexplainable phase of weight gain, or are simply not at your ideal weight, then you might want to try the following weight loss tips.

1. Lose more calories than you gain

Before you start your ambitious lose-three-kg-by-Sunday weight loss program, you need to know the rule of the game. That’s right, there is only one rule, and that is losing more calories than you gain. Sounds simple? Just a simple I-ate-1500-calories-and-burnt-1700-calories subtraction.

2. Accept that you might have it harder

That is until you realise different people have different metabolism rates, depending on their lifestyles and their genes. For instance, muscles burn more calories than fats. So a muscular person will have a higher basal metabolic rate than a fat person of the same weight, and burns more calories even when resting. It is also true that some people naturally have a higher metabolism. It is in their genes. Meaning that the next time your skinny friend asks you to go café hopping with her, pause and reconsider your decision. Though both of you will come out poorer from it, you might be the only one coming out fatter. Life is unfair, suck it up.

3. Not all calories are the same

To complicate things even more, not all calories are made the same. Some types of food are calorie-dense and high in fat. Think of heavenly foods like French fries, coke, cakes. Such foods don’t provide much nutrition and won’t keep you full for long. Other types of food are nutrient dense and provide a disproportionate amount of good vitamins and minerals relative to their calorie count. Think vegetables, fruits, lean meat, whole grains, nuts and beans. 

Oh and about the adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day… well, it’s true. In one recent study, people whose largest meal is breakfast lost 8kg over 3 months. While those whose largest meal is dinner lost only 3kg. Even though their total daily calories intake is the same, and they had the same exercise regime.

This is because the body’s ability to make use of the calories it gets fluctuates throughout the day, in line with the body’s circadian rhythm. Eating too late and too much will only mean your body is unable to burn away the excess calories. I know, dinner dates are way more romantic than lunch dates and breakfast dates (if there is even such a thing).  And when sitting across your Mr/Miss Right, it is easy to lose count of the calories you are eating. But hey, too much of those dinner dates and you might just scare your dream guy/girl away.

4. Follow your body

Your body’s unique circadian rhythm will also decide when is the best time for you to exercise. There is no one size fits all solution. If you are a morning person, go for a morning jog. But if you are a night owl, you will find that afternoon or evening exercises are more productive for you.

Losing weight is a skill that takes time to learn. In Part 2 tomorrow, we will cover specific tips that you can do to finally shed those pounds. Until then, stay away from the scales.